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I’ve been using the Divi theme fairly exclusively now for a number of years and eagerly anticipated the new Divi visual editor ElegantThemes released not that long ago.

How to Fix the Lightsail Bitnami WordPress Database Error

The Divi builder started its life as a modular page builder living permanently inside the backend of WordPress. Creating a post meant editing in the backend, publishing or updating the changes, and then checking how everything looked by loading up the web page itself (or using the WordPress preview option). Pretty much what you’ve always had to do, but easier.

Now we have the Divi visual builder; a feature of Divi I was excited for as soon as it was announced, as it promised to make drag and drop web page creation with WordPress a reality. Unfortunately, the actual reality is that I still use the backend builder exclusively; not because I want to, but because I have to.

While the concept of the Divi visual builder seems great on the surface, the implementation just doesn’t work for me as intended. I should be able to switch back and forth between the backend and the visual builder without a worry, but the darned thing keeps doing weird shit to my text.

It will totally obliterate my paragraphs, take out the code which formats my images (namely aligning and resizing), and it even puts duplicate paragraphs in the post which I have to then go and delete. In short, the Divi visual builder doesn’t save me any time; it just creates more work.

A visual builder still intrigues me so a few weeks ago I checked out what else was available. It didn’t take me long to find out that ElegantThemes definitely doesn’t hold the monopoly on drag and drop interfaces. In fact, there are heaps of alternatives in the marketplace that I wasn’t aware of; probably because I wasn’t actually looking.

As I have a lifetime membership with ElegantThemes I’m a little hesitant to lay down more money for another site designer, as most are subscription services which require a yearly or monthly investment.

In my search, I came across Elementor. At $49.00 it’s perhaps one of the most affordable options out there, but the big drawcard for me is that you can start using most of its features right away for no outlay.

The next most important feature is that your fee covers you for updates and support for one year, but Elementor will keep on going even if you decide to miss a year’s payment.

If you’re happy with what you get in the free version then there is no reason to upgrade at all. However, the pro-version certainly makes an enticing incentive to pay as you get access to heaps of themes and CSS effects to really make a website stand out.

So, happy with the price, and excited about the features, I install the plugin into my Amazon Lightsail hosted Bitnami WordPress installation. I eagerly click the Edit with Elementor button, and while envisioning my future happy life full of drag and drop web pages, I am rudely greeted with an error message. It seems that the Bitnami installation is refused access to the database. You can see the error I received in the image below.

Image of lightsail bitnami wordpress database misconfiguration error

I check with the Bitnami forums and get… crickets. No response. There’s a user there with exactly the same problem as what I am having, but no solution forthcoming, and no response to my post (they’re working on it though).

So I check in with the Elementor crowd, who politely redirect me back to Bitnami. Undeterred I tried a few things; none of them worked.

In order to eliminate Lightsail as the source of the problem, I created a new instance, plonked down an Ubuntu LAMP installation, and proceeded to set it up as a web server.

It’s a grueling process for me, which I just barely understand but… WTF! Elementor worked fine. Lightsail is safely eliminated as the problem. I didn’t want to stuff about hosting my new website on a LAMP installation though. I like to keep things simple because I’m stupid.

So I got deterred… for a while at least, but I really wanted an affordable drag and drop interface that works for creating my new website. I know the boffins aren’t going to be any help so when I had a few spare minutes I decided to check out the settings page of Elementor once again.

As I’m scrolling down the page one of the settings in the Tools menu stands out; call it fate or whatever, it just seemed to spring out at me. Of course, it might also be related to the fact that it’s a setting that allows you to troubleshoot server configuration conflicts, which is the exact problem I seemed to be having. How did I miss that before?

The setting in question is labeled ‘Switch front-end editor loader method.’ Curious, and with nothing better to try, I set it to enabled. Surprise, surprise! Elementor is now working like a charm.

So, this is how you can get Elementor working with an Amazon Lightsail Bitnami WordPress installation, why the experts couldn’t give me that tip is beyond me; but no biggie, I’m now livin’ the dream.

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